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Nano Lett. 2010 May 12;10(5):1869-73. doi: 10.1021/nl101060h.

Large, solution-processable graphene quantum dots as light absorbers for photovoltaics.

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Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


Graphenes have very attractive properties for photovoltaics. Their tunable bandgap and large optical absorptivity are desirable for efficient light harvesting. Their electronic levels and interfacing with other materials for charge transfer processes can both be tuned with well-developed carbon chemistry. Graphenes have also been shown to have very large charge mobilities, which could be useful for charge collection in solar cells. In addition, they consist of elements abundant on Earth and are environmentally friendly. However, these important properties have not been taken advantage of because graphenes that are large enough to be useful for photovoltaics have extremely poor solubility and have a strong tendency to aggregate into graphite. Here we present a novel solubilization strategy for large graphene nanostructures. It has enabled us to synthesize solution-processable, black graphene quantum dots with uniform size through solution chemistry, and we show that they can be used as sensitizers for solar cells.

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